Isle of Wight speedway promoters Barry Bishop and Martin Widman have moved quickly to establish a completely new management set-up for the ‘Wightlink’ Wizards as they prepare for their first season in the Southern Development League, using the opportunity of working with the Wizards as a stepping stone to progress to the Warriors management.
After sifting through and assessing the applicant’s submissions, the new Wizards Team Manager will be a joint position with Isle of Wight Clerk of the Course Kevin Shepherd and former England international Sid Sheldrick sharing the role.
Kev Shepherd said “When the position to become the team manager was made available it was too good an opportunity not to put myself forward as a candidate. To then receive a call from Barry to say that both promoters wanted me to manage the newly formed ‘Wightlink’ Wizards and to work jointly with Sid Sheldrick, well how could I possibly decline the offer? With Sid’s on track and bike set-up knowledge, along with my previous team manager experience, it will form the ideal combination. The Wizards riders will be new to the shale and at times will need encouragement and reassurance that they are doing well and progressing, which is what this league is all about. I truly am looking forward to getting the season underway and seeing the team on track and would like to thank the promotion for having the confidence in me for the job.”
Sid Sheldrick added, “I first met Barry two years ago on holiday and he told me of his and Martin’s plan to bring speedway back to the Island and invited me to the opening. Since then, I have seen their vision materialise with both My First Skid and the Warrior Way a reality, none of which would have been possible without the superb background support from the fans on the Island. Now, we come to the next exciting challenge of having a ‘Wightlink’ Wizards team in the SDL of which I am proud to be a part of. Speedway is a tough sport and if we can encourage these young riders with the Warrior Way they will have the opportunity to progress. I’m really looking forward to getting these riders on track proudly representing the Wizards and the Isle of Wight”.
Barry Bishop added, “Martin and I are very thankful to everyone who applied for the job. We were truly humbled with the number of applications and some difficult choices had to be made because every application had strengths that would have been valuable to the Wizards. However, with Kev and Sid, I truly believe that we have brilliant Team Managers who will be able to guide the Wizards as they make their development league debut this season.”
In addition to the joint team managers, the ‘Wightlink’ Wizards have added three new faces to their management team. Firstly, Peter Shepherd comes in as Wizards Team Co-ordinator supported by Tim Lee with Tony Cook coming in as Wizards Technical Advisor.
New Wizards Joint Team Co-ordinator Pete Shepherd said, “To be asked by Barry and Martin, to be part of a new project for them and Island Speedway, it was easy to accept the position of joint team co-ordinator. It's a project I wanted to be a part of, giving local riders the opportunity to learn, improve and in time push for a Warriors team place as we continue to grow the sport on the Island. My family has a long association with speedway and I'm proud to continue this as we see the Wight Wizards return to the track in 2018. The off-track team Barry and Martin have put together is fantastic, and I can't wait to get the season started.”
Tim also added, “Having run my own privateer team in the BSB in the nineties, I am excited by being given the opportunity to take on a new motorsport challenge and learn the speedway 'ropes' whilst helping with the development of young talent nurtured at the excellent My First Skid speedway school on the Island – I can't wait!”
Wizards Co-promoter Martin Widman said, “With many of the Wizards new to motorcycle racing appointing a Technical Advisor was a high priority for the club and Tony Cook fits that bill perfectly. Tony has been around speedway and grasstrack for a long time and there isn’t much he doesn’t know about it, so it is great to have him onboard with the Wizards.”
Tony added, “I’ve raced speedway, grasstrack and sidecars and I love the sport. I am so happy that I can help the Isle of Wight speedway.”